It’s not uncommon for people to forget about the importance and value of a good user experience. Why? Well, to be honest, processing it is second nature to most of us and we usually do that subconsciously. Find an app on your phone, a piece of software, a website or even a kitchen gadget that works great and helps you get from point A to point B quickly and enjoyably – that’s great user design. Don’t like using it? It’s probably due to bad user experience design.
Of course as consumers we’d rather move onto one of the other options on the market rather than put that much analysis into it. At IdentityMine we’ve been lucky to have the pleasure with working hundreds of clients over our 11 years who have understood the value of and placed a great importance on great user experience design (UX as we in the industry call it). As with most things in life, there are a variety of ways you can slice and dice what defines “good user design” but here are 5 principles that we strive to adhere to in our work.
Purpose – Good design serves a number of purposes. It starts with a goal and purpose that defines how content is accessed and presented to create value for users. At the same time, it should create value for the brand, carefully addressing brand values and messaging. And there must be clear objectives of what you want to achieve and know how you want to measure it. For example, increasing sales for example is not a clear enough objective. Instead, think about way you want to achieve those additional sales, such as by increasing the conversion rate. The aim is to deliver the right thing and not just the thing right.
Understanding – While it is very important to understand what your clients are looking for, to create a meaningful and successful application it is paramount to understand the user. Understand what your users are looking for, how they think, how they use the technology you are designing for. Make sure you have identified audiences and created personas or scenarios and focus on how the user wants to experience your application.
Efficiency – The primary goal of experience design is to make things efficient for the user before making them efficient for the computer. Efficiency allows for greater productivity with reduced effort. A streamlined design allows users to get more done in the same amount of time. Creating efficiency demonstrates a great deal of respect for users and can go a long way in generating long term loyalty.
Empathy – Unfortunately, companies often overstate their relevance to the lives consumers which can generate cynicism and undermine trust. In reality, a product or service’s ability to revolutionize the life of a consumer in today’s overly saturated brand landscape is small at best. Empathy is the ability to understand and share another person's perspective and feelings. Have empathy and be honest with your users. Step outside your box and try really hard to understand the world from another person's point of view. Go out of your way to identify with their needs. If certain things just don't make sense to you, ask more questions. Ask as many questions as you need to until you finally understand. When you really get what makes people tick and why they do what they do, you'll have a much easier time going to bat to make their lives better.
Simple & Intuitive – Yes, these are two separate concepts but they are so closely linked that it makes sense to talk about them as one. When it comes to user experience design, leave complexity to family dynamics, relationships, and puzzles. The things you create should be easy to use, easy to learn, easy to find, and easy to adapt. Keep things focused and enable users to make choices confidently. Remember, intuition happens outside of conscious reasoning. By utilizing it you are actually reducing the amount of thinking users have to do making using your product a natural and easy experience.